Joey Lawrence is an actor, musician and game show host. While best known for his role as the teen heartthrob on the 1990s sitcom Blossom, Lawrence is set to make a splash as one of the new contestants on Celebrity Big Brother alongside peers like Tom Green and Dina Lohan.
Despite Lawrence’s lengthy career as an entertainer, he has run into some legal trouble. He recently filed for bankruptcy, and according to Celebrity Net Worth, he currently has an estimated net worth of -$400K. Read on to learn more about Lawrence’s financial situation and how he likes to spend his money.
1. He Got His Start In Commercials Before Becoming a TV Star In the 1980s & 90s
Lawrence’s first acting role was a Cracker Jack commercial. He turned to television shortly after, taking guest spots on popular sitcoms like Diff’rent Strokes and Silver Spoons before landing the role of Joey Donovan on NBC’s Gimme a Break! The series ran from 1983 to 1987, and made Lawrence a popular child actor. After Gimme a Break! ended, he provided the voice of Oliver in the 1988 Disney film Oliver & Company. The film was well-received by critics and earned over $74 million at the box office.
Lawrence transitioned from child star to teen heartthrob with the NBC sitcom Blossom. He played ladies’ man Joey Russo on the series from 1991 to 1995, and became a pop culture icon through his character’s “Whoa!” catchphrase. At its peak, Blossom averaged 12 million viewers per episode. When the series ended, Lawrence starred in the NBC sitcom Brotherly Love opposite real-life brothers Matthew and Adam Lawrence. Brotherly Love was cancelled after two seasons.
2. During His Tenure On the Sitcom ‘Melissa & Joey’ He Made An Estimated $25K Per Episode
Lawrence experienced a career resurgence in 2010 when he was cast opposite Melissa Joan Hart on the ABC sitcom Melissa & Joey. The series ran for four seasons, during which time Lawrence earned an estimated $25K per episode. Melissa & Joey also earned multiple award nominations during its run, including three consecutive nominations for Favorite Cable TV Comedy by the People’s Choice Awards.
During an interview with Life of Dad, Lawrence talked about how the show’s tremendous success came as a bit of a surprise. He also revealed that the series was produced by his own company JL Veritas. “It is on a cable network that isn’t known for its comedy. We put this show together. It is through my company,” he said. “We took a chance over there in the middle of nowhere. Fans found it and they continue to find it as we have grown every single year. With Netflix, Hulu, and live streaming it is now all over the world in the UK and all throughout Europe.”
Celebrity Net Worth reports that Lawrence had an annual salary $534K during his time on the series. In 2016, the year after Melissa & Joey was cancelled, Lawrence’s annual salary shrunk down to an estimated $58K.
3. He’s Released 2 Albums & Scored a Hit Single With 1993’s ‘Nothin’ My Lovin’ Can’t Fix’
In addition to his successful acting career, Lawrence has released multiple albums as a singer. Lawrence had often stated that music was his true passion, and his popularity during Blossom allowed him to release his self-titled debut album in 1993.
The album was categorized as New Jack Swing, a popular genre at the time, and included the hit single “Nothin’ My Lovin’ Can’t Fix”, which peaked at number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The single, which Lawrence co-wrote, also peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay, number 10 on the Billboard Top 40 Mainstream, and number 13 on the United Kingdom chart. It remains his most successful release to date. Lawrence followed the album up with 1997’s Soulmates. Despite having more of a hand in the production and songwriting, the album was not as successful as its predecessor.
While his musical output has slowed in recent years, Lawrence did team up with his brothers Matthew and Adam to form the group Still 3. They put out their debut single, “Lose Myself”, on February 3, 2017. His latest release as a solo artist was the 2017 EP Imagine.
4. He Filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy In March 2018 & Revealed That He Owed $88K In Back Taxes
Lawrence and his wife Chandie Yawn-Nelson filed for bankruptcy in March 2018. In documents obtained by The Blast, Lawrence revealed that he only had $60 dollars in cash and $8,000 in the bank. He owed $88K in back taxes at the time. He added that his average monthly income is $4,166 and that he makes an additional $2,500 in residuals for a grand total of $6,966 per month.
Given that his expenses were $25,505.35 at the time, he was coming up $18,539.35 short on a monthly basis. That included rent ($13,500), water and sewer bills ($1,281), food and housekeeping supplies ($2,400), entertainment ($1,000) and two car leases ($2,348 and $498). Three of Lawrence’s cars were repossessed during this time: a 2014 Bentley, a 2016 BMW i8 and a 2105 Ford Flex.
Yawn-Nelson, who Lawrence married in 2005, and with whom he has two children, is listed as unemployed. Things reportedly got so bad for the couple that prior to filing for bankruptcy, they were selling purses and wallets on eBay for as little as $463 and were selling off used men and women’s clothing to Buffalo Exchange for $4,325.10. Lawrence and Yawn-Nelson also sold off some of their furniture at a consignment shop for $1,836.70.
5. He Sold His Company Veritas Inc for $56K, Giving the Buyer Rights Over All Future Royalties
Due to Lawrence’s financial troubles, he was forced auction off his production company Veritas Inc. to the highest bidder for $56,000. According to The Blast, the buyer is now able to collect all residuals and royalties owed to Lawrence for his film and television work prior to his bankruptcy.
In addition to his owed back taxes, Lawrence owed Capital One an estimated $30,991, American Express an estimated $48,506, Ford Motor Company an estimated $42,000 and Daimel Trust a whopping. $130,000. Lawrence’s bankruptcy was eventually settled in August 2018.
Us Weekly reports that while there was a balance of $52,547.88 left to pay the actor’s various creditors, including the IRS, they only received $31,000 out of the $67,000 they were owed. The aforementioned companies that Lawrence owed money to were not paid.